I’ve had a good break since Bahrain – I really felt liked I’d earned it after a big 2014. Definitely time to slow down, chill out and rest, physically and mentally.
For those of you reading this in other parts of the world, Christmas in Oz is pretty unique. For me it was all about enjoying the warmer weather (no white Christmases here, that’s for sure), watching the cricket, spending time at home with my wife, Bel, and enjoying some great Aussie food on Christmas Day with my folks.
As far as my training load went, it was definitely lighter over Chrissie and the New Year. I deliberately kept it fairly unstructured and also fairly minimal, which was great. Of course, as a full-time athlete, competing across the world, my competition year doesn’t ever really stop. And so neither does the training.
At the start of the year, the first target in my sights is IM 70.3 Auckland. So, over the last few weeks I’ve put my head down and started to kick things along in the training department a lot more. With this first race, I’m trying not to over-complicate things and just use it as a guide to see how my body feels and where my focus needs to be for the first few months.
I’ve got to say, I love racing in Asia-Pacific and there are more and more quality races happening in this part of the world. IM 70.3 Auckland is a ripper event, for a whole bunch of reasons and I’m really looking forward to kicking off my year there.
Although Auckland’s only a short flight over the pond, weather conditions in New Zealand can be colder than I’m used to at this time of the year, especially coming from an Aussie summer in northern New South Wales.
The swim leg (1.9km) is fairly sheltered, so hopefully it’s going to be pretty smooth. It’s a great course, which begins with a deep-water start in the harbour and we finish up swimming under the Te Whero Foot Bridge (which should be packed with spectators) into Viaduct Harbour.
Bike leg is 90km and it’s fast and hilly (up to 70m) and travels through the centre of Auckland. If you’ve got time to lift your head up and look around there’s some beautiful scenery as it travels along the harbour front. There’s also the potential for thrills and spills, as riders have to negotiate ‘judderbars’ (Kiwi for speed bumps) and cross over tram tracks.
The 21.1km run leg is dead flat and it is going to be super fast. It’s winding and so it gives you plenty of opportunities to check out where everyone else is- who’s chasing you and who you need to catch. Which brings me to the field for Auckland. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Reedy, Crowie and Terenzo (finished 3rd last year). Of course, Cameron Brown’s always a threat, especially on his home turf. It should be a great race!
Speaking of Cam, you can check out a cool course preview video (from 2013), which features Cam’s commentary. There are a few minor changes to this year’s course, but the vid is an awesome way of checking out the course and it gives you a really good feel for what it’s like.
I’m counting down to the 18th January, IM 70.3 Auckland. Good luck to everyone who’s competing. I’ll see you at the finish!
Oh, and thanks to everyone who’s sent in questions to #AskBerks. Great questions! Keep ‘em coming!